Dessert in a cup. The earthiness of pu-erh fuses with caramel for a sweetly decadent finish.
Introducing the favorite beverage of the Scotland-China Association. While it might sound odd that an organization with a mandate to combine kilts and haggis with dragons and dumplings exists, it does! The SCA was founded in Glasgow in an effort to strengthen ties between the two very different countries and offers seminars in Traditional Chinese medicine, language courses and more.
Scotland and China have a long history together. The first recorded encounters between the two occurred in the 17th century, during the days of the old British Empire. At that time the world of the Orient must have seemed wildly foreign to the Scottish officers and merchants who made their way across the Pacific to visit the port cities of Canton and Shanghai. Over the centuries, relations between the two countries continued to develop but it wasnt until the 1980s, with Chinas Open Door policy, that things really began to heat up. Since then, the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh began working collaboratively with Chinese botanists, Napier University, one of Scotlands finest, established a permanent presence in Beijing and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate scientific research between the two countries. Who knew?
In our own efforts to strengthen the ties between Scotland and China, (a pet project of our Master Tasterstrange really considering hes Dutch) were proud to present the only tea in existence known to link the two vastly different cultures - Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh. Now, for those of you who familiar with the earthy, musty character of traditional pu-erh and are scratching your head over this flavor combo, scratch no more. Amazingly, the sweet, burnt sugary profiles of Caramel and Toffee blend in perfect harmony with the loose leafed pu-erh. The cup is warming and thick, layered with notes of damp sweet earth, burnt caramel and cream with balanced astringency and medium finish - as an afternoon tea, this one has no peer. Interestingly, while most pu-erh teas are best enjoyed on their own, the unique sweetness of this cup is well suited to a splash of milk. Heres to the future of Sino-Scottish relations!
What exactly is pu-erh? According to the Bureau of Standard Measurement of Yunnan Province, pu-erh teas are: "products fermented from green tea of big tea leaves picked within Yunnan Province. Pu-erh teas undergo a unique fermentation process that infuses them with their defining musty character. In China, many people believe that pu-erh aids in digestion by breaking down fat in foods.
How to Brew
Black tea (Pu-erh style), almond pieces, natural flavours
Hot Tea: Put 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9 oz (200-260 mL) of water in the teapot. Pour freshly boiled water over tea. Steep 3-7 minutes. Milk and sugar are not recommended. Iced Tea: Makes 1 litre: Put 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea into teapot. Pour 1 1/4 cup (315 mL) of boiling water on tea. Steep 5 minutes. Quarter fill serving pitcher with cold water. Pour into pitcher straining tea. Add ice, top-up with cold water, garnish and sweeten to taste.